I recently spoke with Marcus Jidell of AVATARIUM about the new album, 'The Fire I Long For', which is due out on November 22nd. Check the interview out below, along with the official press release and a few videos. All great stuff.
If you'd prefer to read the interview, click here.
This (northern) autumn our hearts will be enlightened by the fourth studio album of Sweden’s globally praised AVATARIUM.
They have no musical boundaries and that plays a vital part in ensuring they have a signature sound. This open-minded, yet doom-laden collective draws elements of folk, jazz and psychedelic brilliance into a grandiose amalgamation that manages to maintain an almost pop-like elegance.
After previous album »Hurricanes And Halos« (2017) the band toured the world with their now significant and utterly unique repertoire. Another successful EU headline tour took place in autumn 2017. Next, they focused on crafting the next installment in their catalogue which is titled »The Fire I Long For«.
AVATARIUM was founded in 2012 by Leif Edling, a prominent member of CANDLEMASS. The project soon saw the arrival of Marcus Jidell (producer CANDLEMASS) and Jennie-Ann Smith who brought an air of charisma with her soulful grace. Their eclectic approach resulted in the widely celebrated EP »Moonhorse« (2013), but the real impact came when the band released their eponymous debut album in the very same year. Their first live appearance outside Sweden happened at the legendary Roadburn festival in 2014 – resulting in another EP called »All I Want«. Since then they have expanded their touring to all over the world thanks to subsequent full lengths »The Girl With The Raven Mask« (2015) and »Hurricanes And Halos« (2017).
In the meantime, AVATARIUM has become an entity on its own. While Leif Edling still contributed three songs for the new album, the band’s current nucleus consists of Marcus Jidell and Jennie-Ann Smith, who are accompanied on this record by organist Rickard Nilsson and new drummer Andreas ‘Habo’ Johansson (THE DOOMSDAY KINGDOM). They crafted the new ideas into songs with Jidell as producer at Deep Well Studios in Stockholm. Says Jidell: “This is really a band effort. We have all been very involved in the arrangements of the songs on »The Fire I Long For«”. We move with ultimate dynamics between heaviness and fragility. It is emotional and it will always have those dark elements in it, it is all about light and shadow”.
Adds Jennie-Ann: “Leif’s artistry, willfulness and supreme songwriting is a great inspiration.
We have a heritage to take care of but also a responsibility to propone growth and development for our music.” Jidell concludes: ‘We were able to define the AVATARIUM sound better than ever. Leif and I keep on working together a lot - just think of THE DOOMSDAY KINGDOM or CANDLEMASS - but it does not restrict us from adding new elements to the AVATARIUM sound.’
This record showcases the essence of a band who has found its signature sound, no matter what happens. Slightly developing, step by step on every release, »The Fire I Long For« includes nine genuine songs of exceptional purity. This fire they are yearning for is reflected in every single song on this album. Starting with the chunky sound of bombastic opener ‘Voices’, AVATARIUM also offers intimate beauty, represented by first single ‘Rubicon’ and the relaxed, sensitive ‘Lay Me Down’ with its smooth Americana feel. The wealth of variation on the Swede’s fourth statement is enriched with the doom-rooted heaviness of ‘Porcelain Skull’ and ‘Epitaph Of Heroes’, which the band describes as a rather idiosyncratic AVATARIUM song. The record is topped off with the bare intensity of the jazz-inspired piano ballad ‘Stars They Move’, bringing »The Fire I Long For« to close.
The band is a superior vessel with which the individuals can express emotions and thoughts – about life and afterlife, about relationships and the essential themes in life.
Jennie-Ann tells about this personal approach: “Although it is not a concept album, human existential questions are a constant factor, both in the lyrics and music. Songwriters such as Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen remain beautifully unattainable and untouchable for me but serve as a great inspiration that I always seem to return to. I prefer lyrics to be symbolic, poetic and strong - the result of our work is a heavy, dark gospel of emotional bliss.”
In the interview I spoke about my introduction to the band being the following song, 'Pearls and Coffins'. Check that out also.
Metalhead who hates bad parking.